I’m doing a series of newsletter audits to help creators grow and improve their newsletters.
Below are 10 recommendations I put together for Mollie McGlocklin, who runs Sleep is a Skill.
Her newsletter is called Mollie’s Monday Obsessions and I reviewed a recent issue titled The Short Trip Sleep Haul Breakdown.
Here are my suggestions…
1. Your newsletter name should include a clear reference to your niche.
Calling your newsletter Mollie’s Monday Obsessions might make sense if your goal is simply to connect with your existing audience, but my guess is you’re ultimately trying to grow your audience.
That means you need to attract the interest of people who don’t know you/
And no one who doesn’t already know you will be interested in a newsletter called Mollie’s Monday Obsessions.
Unless they read the fine print, even people looking for sleep tips won’t know your newsletter is for them!
If someone searches Google for “sleep newsletter” or “sleep tips newsletter,” you won’t show up despite being a perfect fit for that query.
It’s a missed opportunity to not mention your topic in your newsletter’s name.
2. Pitch the value of the newsletter, not just what’s in it.
The current headline on your signup page says, “Get the best sleeping tips directly to your inbox.”
But that’s not actually the value you offer — that’s just a description of what the newsletter is.
The real value you provide is what people will get as a result of implementing the tips you share.
Sell the benefits, not the features.
For example, “The only newsletter that gives you a better night’s sleep,” might be a more effective headline.
3. Don’t miss micro-branding opportunities.
There are lots of touchpoints in a newsletter signup process where you can start to communicate your voice in fun and unique ways and start to have new subscribers fall in love with your brand.
For example, your current confirmation email is a bit generic:
“Thanks for signing up. Click the link below to confirm your subscription and you’ll be on your way.”
There’s no reference to sleep and no personality to it.
Instead, it could say something like:
“Click the link below to confirm your subscription and get ready to have the best night’s sleep you’ve ever had!”
Once someone confirms their subscription they’re redirected to another generic confirmation page — that’s also a missed opportunity.
You could instead take them to a page where you welcome them with a fun video, cool piece of content, or links to your most popular articles.
There are opportunities to establish your brand with new subscribers immediately…if you take them.
4. You need a welcome email.
It doesn’t look like you have a welcome email that goes to new subscribers (at least I didn’t get one when I subscribed).
That’s a huge missed opportunity.
Read this to see what you could do with your welcome email.
5. Don’t undersell your content in subject lines and headlines.
The idea of sharing the items you bring on a trip to get better sleep is a great one, but the way you titled it is a bit abstract and confusing.
Most people probably don’t immediately know what a “Short Trip Sleep Haul Breakdown” is.
It undersells the content.
Instead, you could have titled it something like “10 Things I Take On Trips To Get Better Sleep” which would be more obvious and therefore likely to get more more opens and clicks.
Always choose clear over clever.
Also, rather than include the full text in your newsletter, you could have posted that article on your website and teased it with a short summary in your newsletter and allow people to click through to read it on your site.
While there’s nothing wrong with sharing full articles in your newsletter, a couple things to keep in mind:
- The longer an item is, the less likely people are to read the rest of your newsletter.
- When you drive people to your site, chances are they may surf around and go deeper into your world (which is what you want I assume).
- People are more likely to share an article on your site on social media than they are to forward/share an email.
6. Streamline the news section items.
You label each item as a “Resource/Article/Publication,” but do those labels actually add value to readers?
Does it matter what categories those things are or does it just add unnecessary elements to the newsletter?
My guess is readers don’t really care.
If the publication matters, you can always incorporate a reference to it within the summary itself if you feel it’s important.
Speaking of which…
7. Use italicized text sparingly.
In your news section, the bulk of the content is summaries which are posted in italics.
But typically, italics are harder to read than regular print — especially when a big chunk of text is in italics — so you may want to remove that.
Quote marks are just as effective at conveying it’s an excerpt.
8. And about that bolded text…
Another minor detail, but why is all the text in the Sleep History section bold?
I assume you want to separate the sections and make them look different, but it’s a fine line between doing that and making the newsletter feel cluttered/disjointed.
In general, I recommend using bold/italics sparingly and consistently.
9. Don’t summarize a podcast — share lessons from it.
The Sleep Is A Skill podcast section is basically a way to promote your podcast which is great.
But it will be more effective if you share key lessons from the podcast as opposed to just teasing it.
Write that section in a way that provides value to someone who never listens to it as opposed to trying to “sell” the podcast to potential listeners.
The irony is, the more valuable the information you share in that section, the more likely people are to listen.
The best way to promote is to provide value up front.
10. Don’t bury your pitch.
I assume part of what you want people who read your newsletter to do is to get them to take your assessment which ultimately leads to monetization opportunities for you.
That’s great, but your messaging of the assessment is buried at the bottom of your newsletter and unlikely to be seen by many people.
Most may not make it that far and regular readers tune out the sign-off paragraph after a while.
A couple things to try here:
- Mix up the placement and messaging of your assessment within the newsletter in different issues.
- Incorporate a reference to the assessment within your first article — even as an aside. For example, when you write about the eyemask you could have had a line like, “Once you know what kind of sleeper you are (take my assessment here), you’ll know if this eyemask is for you.”
If there’s a key action you want people who read your newsletter to take, don’t bury it.
Make it impossible to miss.
Want me to audit your newsletter?
You can also get more help by reading my post on How To Write A Newsletter.
Discover the secrets of successful newsletter creators.